Disclaimer: The stories told within are for entertainment purposes only. The characters from the series "Hart to Hart" and "The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle" belong solely to their original owners. They are used with respect and affection and no copyright infringement is intended.

A Princely Hart

“You want me to wear what?” Jonathan asked incredulously.

“Oh come on now. It won’t kill you. It’s for a good cause and you’ll look absolutely adorable.”

“I don’t want to look adorable. If I have to go to this thing I want to be dashing and virile. Let me tell you something, panty hose and virile just don’t mix.”

“Jonathan, they aren’t panty hose, they’re tights.”

“It doesn’t matter, I don’t want to be that exposed. Aren’t you afraid one of your friends will see what they’ve been missing and force me to run away with her?”

Jennifer snorted. “Well, Mr. Modesty, how can you say that and still say the costume isn’t virile enough, hmmm?”

“I still can’t see why I can’t go to this charity thing as Zorro or John Wayne or a pirate. That’s it, a pirate would be great. I’ll let you play with my sword.” He offered, waggling his eyebrows and an imaginary cigar at her in his best Groucho Marx imitation.

“That certainly sounds like fun but the Enchanted Ball is this evening and these are costumes we have. This is a fantasy couples ball. John Wayne only loved his horse and I am not going to dress up as a horse to be your date. Or a sidekick, for that matter. Zorro was a masked man. He couldn’t reveal his identity to any of the girls. Do I look like Bernardo to you?”

Jonathan chuckled. “No, you don’t. I can’t picture you keeping your mouth shut all evening either.”

Jennifer gave him a look. “Just what do you mean by that, Buster?”

“Nothing, Darling, really.” He got another look and she started advancing on his position. “I just meant that Bernardo was mute and if you were portraying him you wouldn’t be able to talk. That’s all.” He knew he had been pushing his luck with the keeping your mouth shut comment and was backing away from her as she approached with devilment in her eyes.

“Oh yeah?”

“Really.”

“I. Don’t. Believe. You.” After each word she poked him on the shoulder with her finger and backed him up even further until at last the bed hit him on the back of his knees and he went down on top of the costumes lying there. She dropped down on top of him and began to tickle him unmercifully. He responded but she could tell his heart wasn’t in it.

She looked closely at her husband and saw the worry line that creased his forehead when he was troubled. She reached up to smooth it and wiggled her body closer to his, working her way into their favorite position for snuggling, with him holding her while she rested her head on his chest. She loved listening to the rumble of chest while he spoke and to the strong heartbeat there when he was silent.

“Darling, what’s wrong? All this fuss isn’t at all like you. I’m sorry you don’t like the costumes. I thought they fit us pretty well. But we don’t even have to go to the party if you don’t feel up to it.” Concern filled her eyes as she watched him considering his answer.

He held her close, enjoying how she felt in his arms. No matter what else was wrong with his world whenever Jennifer was in his arms he was at peace. She was right, of course, he was making a big fuss over not much. What was wearing panty hose and a goofy wig compared to making the most wonderful woman in the world happy. She’d better not laugh at him though. Max’s reaction would be bad enough. He gave a mighty sigh and Jennifer started to look worried. He quickly smiled up at her.

That’s sweet of you, Sweetheart, to give up your party for my modesty but I think I will be able to make it after all.”

“Are you sure? We don’t have to. I can tell something is bothering you. Why don’t you tell me about it? Maybe I can help.”

“It’s just that stock thing I told you about last week. Stanley found out that the person trying for this hostile takeover is Arnold Archer.”

“Who’s he?”

“He is the king of dirty pool. I don’t think he has the stock to pull off the takeover but he always has something nasty up his sleeve to shift the advantage to his side. I don’t like knowing that he’s after our company. He’s totally unpredictable and very, very dangerous.”

“Oh dear. Well, then, we’ll just have to watch our step and keep a close watch for the dirty tricks squad.”

“Yep. And I’m going to start by keeping my eyes and hopefully my hands on you all night.”

“Promises, promises” she said with a smile.

“OK, How do I get into the panty hose?”

“Jonathan! They are not panty hose!”

“Right, what’s the difference?”

“For one thing they are thicker, which makes them warmer and sturdier so you shouldn't have to worry about getting any runners in your stockings. Plus, they are opaque. Since no one can see through them you won’t have to shave your legs,” she added with a grin.

“Shave my legs!” Jonathan sputtered.

“Yeah, Shave your legs. Now, aren’t you glad you’re not a woman? All you have to do is slip these on and look handsome. I got you a surprise too.”

“Another one?” He croaked.

“Yes, and this will help curb all those fears about the ‘Family Jewels’ being over exposed. You’ve got to know that I want to keep a lock on those viewing privileges.” She sat up and reached for a sack on the table. “I had this custom made for my King of Harts” She placed a leather and padded cloth embroidered belt carefully on his crotch. He looked down at the large stuffed groin piece..

“Well! That will certainly make me a stand out in the crowd.” He grinned.

“I thought you’d like it.” She grinned back. “It does have a practical purpose as well”

“Oh?”

“You might not have noticed yet but those tights have a fly in them. This is to cover the opening so nothing escapes. Back around the time of Henry the eighth codpieces like this one were the height of fashion. In fact, they became kind of a billboard for the wearer’s physical endowments. The designs were very suggestive and used such things as snakes and dragons and elephants to catch a lady’s eye.”

“Do I need any advertisement to catch your eye?”

“Nope. I’m the lucky girl who gets to know first hand if that’s a codpiece in your pocket or if you’re just happy to see me.” She kissed him on the nose and jumped off the bed. “I have to start getting ready if I am going to live up to my billing.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It takes time to become the ‘Fairest Of Them All.’ I’ve got my work cut out for me.”

“Quit fishing for compliments.”

“Oh well, you can’t fault a girl for trying.” She sighed as she turned to go into the dressing rooms. He caught her by the arm and cupped her face with one hand.

“You are the most beautiful woman in the world. Every day, all day: Early morning, late at night, it doesn’t matter. Made up, sleek, sexy, bejeweled: Dirty, sweaty, tired, hormonal, it just doesn’t matter. All your faces, all the facets that make up Jennifer, make you the only person I want to see, need to see, every day of my life. I don’t care what any old magic mirror might say. You are the fairest of them all.”

Her heart was melting. He never knew how much his compliments meant to her. She knew that she had pretty features but she also knew that she was beautiful because he believed her to be, not because she won some genetic lottery for good looks. She leaned against him and hugged him hard and then looked up into his startling blue eyes and asked, “Are you sure you aren’t just trying to get out of wearing the costume?” They both laughed and went their separate ways to get ready for the evening.

Jonathan looked a little closer at the codpiece and saw it was embroidered with a sword, which seemed suitably masculine to him and that the sword was behind a pair of linked hearts. One of the hearts was topped with a golden crown that had slipped off to one side. “A king of hearts with an attitude, eh? Well that could definitely fit me.” He laughed, “I guess I won’t be wearing my heart on my sleeve tonight.”

Max drove them to the party. Jonathan’s sword got in the way of the gear shift.

Max didn’t say a word. Not about the sword, or the panty hose, or the codpiece, or the goofy wig or the poofy hat with the feather sticking out of it. Max was a very wise man.

Already the wig itched and he wished he had made other plans for tonight. He was wearing tight white panty hose (no matter what Jennifer called them they were panty hose to him) a long frilly white shirt with a royal purple tunic covered in gold and pearl trim over that. The tunic was fairly long but it was cut in such a way that his codpiece was well displayed. The worst thing about the costume was the wig. He was wearing a blond page boy wig. He looked like a dork…a major dork. The best thing about being Prince Charming was that he got to escort Snow White to the ball. Because once people got a look at “The Fairest Of Them All” they weren’t even going to know he was around.

He had a surprise for Jennifer as well. While she was getting ready he had called a friend and made a special arrangement for this evening. When they got close to the benefit’s venue Max turned where he had been told to and pulled up behind a trunk and trailer.

“Max, what are you doing? Jonathan, what’s going on? We’ll be late!”

“Oh, I don’t think we’ll be too late. I want there to be a little crowd there when we arrive.”

“We’ll be lucky if everyone hasn’t gone by the time we get there.”

“Calm down. You and I are about to make the entrance of the year at this party. People will be talking about us tomorrow.” He grinned at her. She began to worry.

“Jonathan, what are you planning?”

“You’ll see. Mike? Bring him around.” From behind the trailer a man led the most beautiful white horse Jennifer had ever seen. It had a flowing white mane and tail. His hooves and tack had been painted silver. He looked like moonlight.

Jennifer gasped and went up to the horse. “Oh! You beauty, you. Are you going to let us ride you to the ball? Everyone there is going to want to take your picture.” She turned back to Jonathan. “Darling, he’s the perfect added touch. Thank you.”

Mike helped them to mount and they rode the final two blocks to the Enchanted Ball. Needless to say, the arrival of Snow White and Prince Charming on his white charger was a highlight of the event and ended up in the morning papers the next day.

As he expected Jonathan got some ribbing from friends who were there but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been because Snow White in her princess dress was a show stopper all by herself.

The evening passed quickly as they danced and chatted with friends. Late in the evening Jonathan went to the bar to pick up a couple of drinks for them. While she waited for him Jennifer sat down to rest her feet. She was lost in thought when a strange man sat down next to her. He was dressed all in black and the outfit included a tall top hat and a swirley cape. His pasty face sported a thin, elaborately curled moustache.

“You aren’t here all alone are you, my dear?” he asked his a cracking voice.

“No, no. My husband is just over there at the bar.” She answered cautiously. “Are you alone this evening?”

“I had a date but she’s tied up somewhere," He giggled a little, then continued. "I won’t be alone for long though.”

“I’m glad.” Jennifer replied mentally rolling her eyes and wondering what to say next. “I’m Snow White and my husband is dressed as Prince Charming. May I ask who you tonight?”

He twirled the end of his moustache and said with a flourish, “I am Snidely Whiplash, Evildoer Extraordinaire!”

“Oh.” Jennifer said bemusedly. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle had not been on the approved viewing list at Gresham Preparatory School.

“I see your husband is taking his time returning to your side. Foolish of him to leave you alone.”

Jennifer began to take exception to that comment when Snidely pulled a gun out of his pocket and pointed it at her.

“Mrs. Hart, you will be coming home with me tonight.”

“What? I’m not going anywhere with you!”

“Yes, you will, or I’ll shoot your ridiculous looking husband here and now.”

“Jonathan” she breathed.

“Yes, dear Jonathan. You see, Mr. DoGooder over there has something I want, so to ensure he gives it to me I’m taking something he wants…you. Let’s go.”

They got up and left the room, Jennifer looking over her shoulder for a glimpse of Jonathan. He turned from the bar just in time to see Jennifer being “helped” from the room by a stranger in black. He dropped his hard won drinks and started after them.

Snidely made the mistake of stopping on the street to tie Jennifer up so she couldn’t make trouble for him as he was driving. He didn’t know they had been seen leaving. This gave Jonathan enough time to catch up and see the car when they left. He grabbed the horse’s reins, vaulted to it's back and rode out after them, yelling for someone to follow him with a car.

Snidely’s car had a slight problem. It sputtered and faltered so he had to pull over on a side street to see what was the matter. That’s what came from using a chauffeur all the time, you tended to forget how the damned things worked. It turned out that he had forgotten to put any gas in the tank. His car was dead and he was stranded but he put in a call to his driver to come get him. He didn’t think anyone was following them yet. He thought for a moment that he heard horse’s hooves on the pavement but decided that couldn’t be. Then he turned around and found himself facing an avenging Jonathan Hart on a white horse armed with a very large sword. Snidely scrambled to the other side of the car and held his gun on Jennifer.

“No closer, Hart, or I’ll blow her away!” He dragged Jennifer out of the car and away into the dark.

Jonathan recognized the lunatic holding his wife. “Archer! You’re never going to get away with this.”

“Sure I am, Hart. As long as I have her you can’t do anything to me.” He was walking backward and keeping Jennifer between him and Jonathan’s gun. He didn’t see the railroad track behind him. He fell flat and pulled Jennifer down too. Her arms were tied behind her back and she blacked out when her head hit the track rail. Archer scrambled up and tried to pick her up. All he succeeded doing was making sure she was stretched across both rails of the track.

Jonathan dismounted and started toward him.

Archer gave up trying to move Jennifer and left her on the track. Jonathan heard him say, “Oh curses, foiled again!” as he ran off.

Jonathan jumped over Jennifer and ran after Archer. Then he heard a sound that chilled his soul. A train whistle. A train whistle that was getting louder. Jennifer was tied up on the train tracks! He sprinted back to her side as the sound of the sounds of the approaching train grew louder and louder in his ears he grabbed his wife and attempted to lift her to safety but he couldn't move her. In his fumbling earlier Archer had somehow managed to wedge Jennifer’s foot in the rail. The train loomed closer, blowing it's horn continuously now and Jonathan knew he had to do something soon or both of them would be crushed by the oncoming behemoth. Nothing could stop it now. Frantically working her foot he managed to get it loose and pull her to safety just as the train thundered past.

He sat there holding her in his arms, breathing, trying to get his heart to slow down a little bit. “Lord, that was close. Thank you for getting use out of there in time,” he prayed. Jennifer stirred.

“Darling, what happened? Where’d he go? Are you OK?”

“Hush, Sweetheart. Just let me sit here for a minute and be thankful that you and I are both OK." He buried his face in her hair and told her, "I don’t know where Archer is and I don’t care. If he shows his face again I’ll have him arrested so fast he won’t know what hit him.”

“At least now we don’t have to worry about his hostile takeover attempt.” She said with an evil grin.

“And we get to live happily ever after. Talk about your storybook endings.”

Then Prince Charming kissed the beautiful Princess and they did indeed live Happily Ever After…or, at least until the next adventure.

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